How to save money when studying abroad
Studying abroad is an amazing, often once in a lifetime experience, but it can also leave a huge hole in your bank account! Here are some useful tips on how to enjoy your year abroad without breaking the bank.
Use your free time wisely
As a student, you will have loads of free time, so why not commit a few hours a week to earning a bit of extra cash? Jobs like babysitting for an expat family or dog walking and pet sitting are fun, well paid and will only take up a few hours of your free time. Check out mobile apps like AppJobs and Petbacker to find loads of flexible part-time jobs.
Make the most of cheap transport options
A lot of cities have student transport passes that give you huge discounts on public transport. In Madrid, for example, you can use the metro (all zones), city buses and some out-of-city trains (Cercanías) for just €20 a month. It’s worth researching the prices and how to apply for a student pass in your city before you move.
In some cities (such as London or Paris), student passes will still cost you quite a lot, but there are always alternative means of transport to consider. Many cities and large towns now have bike and scooter schemes that allow you to cheaply use public bikes and scooters throughout the city or town.
You can also have a look online for a second hand bike. Student/expat facebook pages often have some very good deals (don’t forget to get yourself a bike lock too). And of course, don’t dismiss walking: it’s cheap and is the best way to explore your new city/town.
Keep your food costs down
Eating out a lot will quickly eat into your weekly/monthly budget so try to cook yourself as much as you can. If you aren’t a huge cooking fan, you can try bulk cooking: dedicate one afternoon or evening in the week to preparing meals, freeze them and then defrost them when you want to eat them. Asking locals for the cheapest supermarkets is a good way to keep your shopping bill low.
When you do want to go out for dinner, it’s all about timing. Before peak dinner time, some restaurants offer cheaper set menus known as early-bird menus. These are a great way to eat out while not spending a lot of money.
There is even a cheap way to enjoy take-aways! The app Too Good To Go lets you buy leftover meals from restaurants at really cheap prices (sometimes less than half the menu price). Not only is this good for your wallet, it’s also good for the environment as it helps to reduce waste.
Get the international Student Card
With the International Student Discount Card, you can save money on restaurants, museums, theatres, walking tours, hostels and loads of fun activities in over 130 countries. You just have to be studying and 30 years or younger.
Delete your cookies
When buying flights for weekend trips or visits home, clear your browser and cache history before you search for and buy your tickets. Sometimes airlines monitor your activity on their websites (through your cookies) and will raise the price of flights and destinations you have viewed in the past. Deleting your cookies is an easy and super fast way of potentially saving a bit of money on your air fares.